How Funeral Professionals Can Support Families That Have Lost a Child

Losing a child is one of the most painful experiences a family can endure. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death or the age at which it occurs, the overwhelming grief the surviving family members experience is something funeral professionals are uniquely qualified to handle. And as difficult as it is to witness a family’s sorrow, funeral professionals understand that expert care and compassionate service are exactly what these heartbroken families need to honor their loved ones and begin to heal.

In honor of Bereaved Parents Awareness Month, recognized every year in July, discover the invaluable ways funeral providers can help grieving parents and family members during the most difficult days of their lives.

Explain Funeral Service Options

Successful funeral professionals understand the importance of offering different types of services for families to honor their loved one’s memory. Immediately following the tragic death of a child, grief is often too overwhelming for the family to try to make funeral arrangements. No matter what they ultimately decide, reassuring the family that your funeral home staff will be there to assist them through the entire process will provide much-needed comfort.


Assist with the Obituary

Helping to write a meaningful obituary is just one of the important details the family may ask your staff to assist with when making the final arrangements. Regardless of the family’s decision to have a service right away or wait until a later date, writing and publishing the obituary typically has a greater sense of urgency. Helping with this important task can be a huge relief to the family. When the family is ready to share their loved one’s story, keep in mind that this obituary is the family's last tribute to their child and should reflect a feeling of hope and comfort.


Provide Grief Support Resources

While no words, books or videos can take away a family’s grief after losing a child, there are many valuable resources available to help provide support, hope and comfort. Whether you follow up with text-based aftercare, provide access to online grief support materials or host support meetings for the families you’ve served, your assistance can play a crucial role in providing grieving parents and family members with some of the tools and resources they’ll need to navigate their healing journey. Here are a few aftercare tools and resources we recommend for your funeral home to share with grieving parents and family members.

When a Child Dies: Planning Acts of Love & Legacy

The Funeral Service Foundation’s community care resource, When a Child Dies: Planning Acts of Love & Legacy, offers guidance and inspiration to help families say goodbye to their child. In partnership with the Collaborative of Pediatric Palliative Care Coalitions and with assistance from the NFDA, the Foundation created this guide to support funeral professionals and the families they serve. This thoughtful resource includes insights from dozens of bereaved parents and healthcare and bereavement professionals to help grieving parents and families begin to process their child’s loss and make meaningful final arrangements that honor their life.

“Youth & Funerals” Program

Death can be overwhelming at any age, and it can be challenging for parents and caretakers to set expectations and answer their children’s questions. Fortunately, the Funeral Service Foundation has another great resource available to help facilitate those conversations. The “Youth & Funerals” program is designed to provide a catalog of resources that funeral professionals can offer to families who are struggling to talk with their kids about death and dying. Simply visit the Foundation’s resource page to access their library of materials, including a video you can embed on your funeral home website and a customizable eBook to help families understand how to talk with their kids about end-of-life issues.

All the materials created to support the “Youth & Funerals” program were developed in collaboration with funeral service professionals and grief and bereavement experts. In addition to the educational value of the program, the resources are designed to underscore the important role funerals and memorialization play in the lives of youth.

For Grief

For Grief offers unprecedented and direct access to the country’s most preeminent grief experts and authors. With their on-demand video courses, new and forthcoming innovative GriefCalendar™ events, Grief Guide, information-rich blog, downloadable guides and more, you can find the right resources to help grieving parents, siblings and family members following their loss.

Partner with Other Professionals

If your firm doesn’t have a grief support specialist on staff, consider partnering with professional counselors in your area to provide ongoing support workshops. You could also keep materials on hand to distribute or mail to families who can benefit from them. Contact your account executive to find the right resources for your client families.


Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself

As funeral professionals, you experience many challenging and heartbreaking days throughout your career. Know that your caring and compassionate services are invaluable to helping these families during the most difficult time of their lives. But remember, you also need to take care of yourself during challenging times. First and foremost, be sure to consult an appropriate professional if you need to discuss matters related to your own physical and emotional health.

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